Phil: Some people have suggested that being famous doesn’t make it easier to get a book published. Presumably those same people are so stupid that they can’t work out how to eat or have just been discharged from a jury.
Of course it’s easier to be published if you are famous. Publishing is a business and if you want to sell units to a celebrity obsessed public, then you comb the pages of Now/Hello/OK and pick your writers from the “bikini bodies” section. Lets’ face it, Martine McCutcheon wrote a book and she’s not even clever enough to remember that everyone has to pay taxes, or at least find a good accountant who can provide a good reason that you don’t.
Anyway, my ire is raised by spotting a couple of things in the media recently.
1 – Frank Lampard has signed a 5 book deal to write a series for children called “Frankie’s Magic Football”.
Now, I’ll admit to knowing nothing about football. I never got picked for a team at school, being the leftover who just joined the team that hadn’t picked last. From there it was a position in defence, or hanging around nowhere near the ball, as it was probably better termed. Still, I did my research and looked up Mr Lampard’s Wikipedia entry (Yes it IS research, you think the BBC/ITN/Sky reporters do any more than this?). Sadly, the page goes on forever and I couldn’t be bothered to read it.
At the end, it appears he has an A* in Latin. Assuming this is accurate (it’s Wikipedia remember) then he might be better placed to be the new Pope since it’s the only job that requires a working knowledge of the language. The Catholic church might even benefit from a bit of star status. What we can be pretty sure of is that the books will not appear in Latin. I don’t care how desperate the publishers are, lines are drawn and it doesn’t matter what words are on the page, as long as they are in English.
Anyway, Frank has bagged a deal to write children’s books about a footballer called “Frankie”. I know you are supposed to write what you know but this is ridiculous. The cynic in me suspects that the illustrator is under strict instructions that “Frankie” must look a lot like Frank.
2 – Richard Hammond is a judge for a short story competition.
OK, lets start with I watch Top Gear and think “The hamster” is a fine presenter. Not as good as James May, but pretty good. He’s also smart enough to milk his popularity for all it’s worth, hence the BBC being full of shows that start with his name. It’s also good that the BBC is running a short story competition for kids. On Radio 2 amusingly, so for middle-class kids who don’t like an endless diet of R’n’B from Radio 1.
But, there are real writers on the panel: Dame Jacqueline Wilson and Charlie Higson for a start. Hammond is there for no other reason than the competition needs Celebrity. Presumably someone in the Beeb thought, “No one will enter if we don’t have a famous face involved.” and hit the Hammond speed dial. He worked out it wasn’t going to take much time (teachers and librarians are being asked to do the first sift to create a shortlist – for free) and would add a bit of gravitas to the CV. And that a shed-load of money would be heading his way for a quick voiceover.
Look – I understand the marketing advantages of a famous face, but I’m still bitter OK?